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Jakarta Post

Residents now approve of construction of COVID-19 hospital in Batam, officials claim

  • Fadli

    The Jakarta Post

Batam, Riau Islands   /   Mon, March 9, 2020   /   01:43 pm
Residents now approve of construction of COVID-19 hospital in Batam, officials claim A former camp for Vietnamese refugees on Galang Island, Batam, Riau Islands, is to be turned into a specialized COVID-19 hospital. (JP/Fadli)

The government plans to proceed with turning a former refugee camp on Galang Island, Batam, Riau Islands into a hospital that would specialize in the treatment of COVID-19 coronavirus patients, as officials claim that locals now support the project.

On Sunday, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police inspected for a second time the site planned for the hospital, which was formerly used as a camp for Vietnam War refugees in the 1970s before being shut down in 1995.

TNI commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, who led the inspection, claimed that residents of nearby Sijantung village had expressed their support for the plan.

“I have met with people who live around [the former refugee camp] during a social call. Nearly everyone welcomes the construction plan,” Hadi said.

The proposed hospital, he said, would be equipped with 50 isolation wards and a total of 1,000 beds, as well as a centralized oxygen supply. The isolation wards would also include 20 intensive care units (ICU), he said.

He said that the hospital would also be equipped with a laboratory, a pharmacy and additional facilities such as housing for health workers.

“We will provide treatment facilities, including rooms with negative pressure ventilation that use standardized filters to help accelerate recovery. We hope the hospital will be completed soon,” Hadi said.

He said the proposed hospital would be staffed with military doctors and public volunteers, as well as health workers affiliated with the National Police and the Health Ministry.

Hadi, along with Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, conducted the first field assessment of the former Vietnamese refugee camp on Wednesday.

The planned construction was expected to be completed within a month, Basuki said.

The plan for the hospital was initially met with surprise and resistance among locals, but authorities have sought to persuade them by disseminating information and meeting with them personally.

As of Monday, Indonesia has announced six confirmed COVID-19 cases, five of whom are being treated at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Disease Hospital in North Jakarta, while one is being treated at the Persahabatan Central General Hospital in East Jakarta. (rfa)